If We Could Do It Over Again

Some people look back at the start of the crisis and wonder how things would have played out if the government had decided to save Lehman Brothers. Lehman's failure fed a chain reaction that essentially froze the credit markets.

So why didn't Treasury save Lehman? Then Secretary Henry Paulson has said the government tried to broker a deal but couldn't, and was worried that another bailout would present a real moral hazard, encouraging even riskier behavior down the road.

Lawrence McDonald, a vice president at Lehman, has a different take. McDonald has a new book out which lays the blame at the foot of a handful of Lehman executives, particularly CEO Richard Fuld.

McDonald, on Morning Edition today, described a meeting between Fuld and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in the spring of 2008.

Mr. Fuld said something along the lines to the Treasury secretary: He said 'You know I've been in my seat a lot longer than you were in yours at Goldman Sachs, Don't tell me how to do things. I'll do things at my speed.' And I think right there, Lehman's fate might have been sealed.

The book's title: "A Colossal Faiure of Common Sense."

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.